Summary: Success with garden lighting comes from experimenting. The only way to test your landscape lighting placement is by moving the lights around when night time falls.
Question: We have drawn a plan for placing lightings in the garden landscape, but how do we know if our lighting plant will work and achieve the nightime lighting effects we want? Ken, Farragut, TN
Answer: Ken, there is only one answer to success with any landscape lighting installation – You’ve got to experiment!
The first step required in creating any outdoor lighting scheme is experimentation. That is the only way to satisfy yourself as to the effects your lighting will achieve.
Get out in the garden after dark, use a few long extension cords if you need to. One of the nice features of solar lights in the landscape is once they are charged they can be moved around easily to test different lighting effects with not electric source required.
Make certain to do your outdoor lighting experimenting on a dry night, or at least as dry as it is possible to find any garden or lawn area at night. Never install any lighting or connect any wires when the circuit is hot.
Always have everything hooked up and all lamps and fixtures in place before plugging the extension cord into an outlet. Have one or more flashlights handy to see what you are doing when the cords are unplugged.
Focal Points First
First light up the focal points of each area. Take some pictures and study the images and experiment with lighting from different angles.
Vary the distance of the lights, the angle, and the number. Remember the two cardinal rules:
- Conceal the source of light as much as possible
- Avoid glare for yourself and your neighbors
Once satisfied with a particular scene, indicate the location of each of the lights on your plan, and approximately how it was aimed.
Up from the ground? Down from atop the porch or a tall tree? Or at an angle from off to one side? This can be indicated with a small arrow on your plan or by a brief penciled note.